by Katie Zeck
Last week’s massive snowfall and this week’s crippling ice storm have left Rider students knee-deep and struggling to dig out.
Lawrence Township has seen almost 35 inches of snow in 2011. The Jan. 26-27 storm alone dumped 18 inches of the white stuff, according to the Office of New Jersey State Climatologist.
The storm forced Rider to cancel afternoon classes on Wednesday and most classes on Thursday as Facilities Management worked to keep up with the snowfall. Grounds manager Larry Toth explained the process facilities workers took to lessen the impact of the snow that accumulated.
“We do not put material on walkways or roadways before a storm,” Toth said. “It is actually slippery to walk or drive on. The salt that we use has a non-UV stable in it, which is like a food colorant and is harmless to the environment. We put the salt down when snow or sleet begins to fall. The product needs the precipitation to be effective.”
Toth and his team removed as much snow as possible, specifically around areas of heavy traffic, so that classes could resume.
“The amount of people we have working throughout the entire campus depends on the time, if campus is closed or if certain events are taking place,” he said. “For the most part we have a few more people working on the academic buildings, Daly’s, the SRC, Alumni Gymnasium and handicap walkways. For the roadways, trucks are assigned to certain parking lots and roadways. When they complete them, they start all over again or assist in another area if needed.”
By the end of the week, a total of 25 facility workers, seven trucks, two front end loaders, six smaller machines for the sidewalks and approximately 35 tons of de-icing material, worked diligently to clear away as much snow as possible to allow for smooth movement about the campus.
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell was pleased with the hard work and long hours the Facilities employees put in during such weather conditions.
“I’ve got to commend Facilities. They do a phenomenal job; they’re here 24 hours straight, doing what they have to do,” Campbell said. “They’re unbelievably dedicated to making sure things are safe for students.”
Despite these efforts, many students continued to face difficulties when walking and driving around campus.
Freshman commuter Emily Reeg noted that Z Lot was especially difficult to navigate the morning of Jan. 26.
“The freshmen lot didn’t seem to be plowed at all, and then the walkways from the parking lots to the rest of campus were also hard to walk through,” Reeg said.
Though the university announced a 1 p.m. closing that day, students were astonished that morning classes were still being held.
Freshman Jessica Lanza walked to her 9:10 class on Wednesday, shocked that she was trudging through inches of the white stuff.
“I honestly couldn’t even believe we had classes when I woke up and saw the amount of snow that was coming down,” she said.
Others skipped classes altogether that morning, opting not to leave the comfort of their dorm rooms, or, in the case of commuters, not to risk driving on slippery and potentially dangerous roads.
Julia Fang, a freshman commuter, was one such student who chose not to leave her home that morning.
“I couldn’t get out of my town because all the roads were closed, and I don’t even like driving in bad weather like that to begin with,” Fang said
Other students continued to see problems days after the snowfall when attempting to leave campus.
“I had to use the ice scraper from my car to move the snow away from my tires and then my roommate helped me push my car out of its parking spot,” said freshman Lori Nissim.
Many experienced similar obstacles using anything and everything they could to uncover their vehicles. Campbell, while agreeing that it is an issue Rider University students deal with winter after winter, stresses the challenges that come with clearing all of the parking areas around campus (See editorial, p. 8).
“It’s hard to get parking lots fully cleared when students are here because their cars are there and it’s not like we can move them to another lot very easily,” he said.
Luckily, some friendly good Samaritans were seen assisting other students in digging out their buried cars.
“It was neat how everyone that was in the parking lot trying to get their car out came together and started helping each other,” Nissim said.
At only two weeks into the semester, the possibility of another snowstorm cannot be ruled out.
“Cold weather and large amounts of snow always cause problems,” he said. “It’s just part of living in these temperatures right now.”
In only the first week of February 2011, “it has already been an unbelievable snow year,” he said.